Early Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your immune  system attacks your body’s tissues and blood vessels. This article will highlight some of the common early signs of rheumatoid arthritis, its causes, and how to treat it.

Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Below are some of the common signs and symptoms of the disorder.


Fatigue is often the first symptom you will notice. It might come and go from day to day or week to week and can sometimes be accompanied by depression or a general feeling of ill health.

Joint Stiffness

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis could experience stiffness in their joints on one side of their body or joints on both sides. It can occur at any time, whether they are active or not. The stiffness usually begins in your hands. Though it comes on slowly, it can sometimes be sudden, simultaneously affecting many joints.

Joint Pain and Swelling

The stiffness will be followed by joint pain or tenderness. Some of the common areas are wrists and fingers. You might, however, also have pain in your shoulders, knees, ankles, and feet. You could also experience inflammatory arthritis that will cause your joints to look bigger than usual.

Tingling and Numbness

This inflammation could create nerve pressure, which could cause tingling or numbness in your hands. Your hands could produce a crackling or squeaking noise when you move.

Some of the other early signs of RA include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Eye discharge
  • Inflamed or itchy eyes
  • Loss of appetite

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis happens when your immune system attacks the membrane linings surrounding your joints, causing inflammation. The inflammation thickens the lining, eventually destroying the joint’s cartilage and bone, causing the joint to lose its alignment and shape.

Doctors still do not know what causes this process. Your genes do, however, play a role. While they do not directly cause RA, your genes can make you more vulnerable to certain risk factors that might trigger the disorder.

Some of the factors that could increase the risk of getting the illness include:

    • Age: Rheumatoid arthritis mainly occurs in middle age.
    • Sex: Women are more likely to develop RA.
    • Environmental Exposures: Being exposed to environmental elements like silica or asbestos could increase the risk of developing RA.
    • Family History: If a family member has rheumatoid arthritis, you might have an increased risk of getting the disease.
    • Obesity: Women who are 55 years old or younger, and are obese or overweight, seem to be at a higher risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Smoking: If you already have a genetic predisposition for getting the disease, smoking increases the risk further. Also, smoking seems to cause the disease in greater severity.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment and Management

While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, early treatment increases the chances of remission. Treating rheumatoid arthritis involves the use of functional medicine.

Your doctor will prescribe certain drugs to slow down disease activity and joint damage and reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling. They may also recommend occupational therapy to reduce pain or surgery to repair joint deformity.

If you are living with arthritis and looking for non-surgical, natural-based pain relief solutions, reach out to Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation. We are a healthcare facility that integrates various treatment therapies to provide you with better health and a better life. Call us today at 908 252 0242 to book your appointment.

About The Author

Dr. Vincent Sferra

Dr. Vincent Sferra

Dr. Vincent Sferra is the founder and Clinic Director of Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation. He is Board Certified in Chiropractic Medicine and Chiropractic Neurology, a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He has been in practice and providing educational health and wellness programs in the community since 1986.

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